We are down to four days until pitchers and catchers report to St. Louis Cardinals’ Spring Training, and day seven of my exploration.
A bit of confession to start: I have been very wary of wading into an examination of Memphis’ outfield as I’m just honestly not sure what player will or will not start 2016 in Memphis. I have actually already written about a potential starter in the outfield, Jeremy Hazelbaker but also noted that it wouldn’t surprise me to see him add some appearances at first base either.
Noting this, I find myself once again espousing another outfield/first base player in this post, Carlos Peguero.
Carlos Peguero comes to the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization by way of the Dominican Republic to Seattle to Kansas City to Texas to Boston. He will turn 29 before the start of the 2016 campaign and has appeared in his minor league career at the positions in the outfield exclusively and/or as DH.
This -0.1 WAR player, while presenting power, has yet to find a solid connecting batting average to account for his presenting power as was referenced in slide 4 of Chris Greene’s article examining the Cardinals’ first base battle.
Peguero is relatively new to the Cardinals organization. Peguero started the 2015 season with Texas, was then purchased in May of 2015 by Boston where he would spend the remainder of last season. In November of 2015, Peguero entered free agency and hovered there until the Cardinals signed him to a minor league contract in January of 2016. But what can we really expect to see out of Peguero in Memphis?
As has been mentioned above and referenced in Chris Greene’s Redbird Rants article, Peguero presents the capability of power. In his minor league career, he has appeared in 3,320 at-bats and has posted an OPS in that time of .847 with a .511 slugging percentage (.273 batting average). He has tallied 182 doubles, 174 home runs, and 615 RBI.
He has appeared in 289 MLB at-bats posting a miserable .194 batting average while hitting 10 doubles, 13 home runs, and accounting for 37 RBI. Power but not enough contact.
Defensively, in the minors, Peguero has posted fielding percentages of .936 when appearing in left field (191 games), 1.000 when appearing in center field (14 games), .944 when appearing in right field (400 games), and .943 when appearing in multiple outfield spots in a single game (597 games).
In his brief stints in the majors, he has posted fielding percentages of .992 when appearing in left field (67 games), 1.000 when appearing in center field (1 game), 1.000 when appearing in right field (29 games), and .994 when appearing in multiple outfield spots in a single game (92 games). These indicate that he will likely patrol right field but a move to first would not be out of question.
I find myself tossing my hands into the air with this one: Peguero presents as a major enigma for me. Let me expound on this for you. When I was digging into this statistics, I noticed something odd about 2015.
January 2015 had Peguero signed by Texas and invited to spring training. Seems he started the season with Texas’ AAA team and appeared in only two games but posted an impressive .667 batting average and a 1.167 OPS.
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In April of 2015, Texas was enamored with his performance enough to buy his contract and add him to the Rangers roster. In his time in Arlington, he played in 30 games amassing 70 at-bats. In this time he managed only 13 hits (4 doubles, 4 home runs, 9 RBI, .186 average, .724 OPS). This lead to a direct DFA which took him to the Boston organization.
In Boston he immediately hit the major squad where he appeared in four games accounting for only 5 at-bats. In this small sample size, he posted a batting average of .200 and a .533 OPS. With this as clear evidence of his inability to hack it in the majors, Boston DFA’d Peguero on June 4, 2015.
Once he passed through waivers, Boston assigned him to their AAA-affiliate team on June 5, 2015. On June 14, Peguero elected free agency and was awarded a new minor league contract with Boston on June 15. In Boston’s AAA-affiliate team, he appeared in 97 at-bats for a .237 average and a .800 OPS.
This had me scratching my head until I uncovered his disabled list fall on July 19, 2015 due to a sprained right wrist. The next bit of news for him didn’t appear until September 28, 2015 when he was activated off the DL. September?!? Does this mean he is an injury issue? In examining his history I did not find any other appearance on the DL so I’m not so inclined to histrionics on this yet.
With all the question marks and head scratching one might wonder why I would have interest and excitement in seeing this player in Memphis. I need only point to two years in his minor league career: those of 2011 and 2012.
Yes, we are a touch removed from those years, but in 2011 Peguero posted an average of .317 with an OPS of .923 (240 at-bats). In 2012, he posted an average of .285 with an OPS of .929 (281 at-bats). Even Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors noted Peguero’s power prowess of batting 30 home runs as recently as 2014.
All of this said, I am anxious to see if this is potential future player (or value) or if 2016 will bring another bust.
Follow me on twitter and keep watching for a new article over these next few days as I look at the players who excite me for the upcoming season!